Breast cancer survivor celebrates with SMMC patients

Newark resident Elsie Best celebrated five years cancer-free this June by bringing presents to those undergoing cancer treatments at St. Michael’s Medical Center (SMMC) from her church group, the Missionary Society at Philemon Missionary Baptist Church, Newark. Patients received gift bags filled with toiletries, warm socks, peppermint candies and Bibles. Best also presented the SMMC Foundation with a check for $100 designated to The Cancer Center.

“God kept me here for a reason: to be an advocate for cancer survivorship,” said Best. “I am truly blessed to share this gift and to be able to come back and see all of the wonderful people who cared for me.”

After her diagnosis, Best sought treatment at the Cancer Center at SMMC and The Connie Dwyer Breast Center. While undergoing treatment, she sat on the Cancer Center’s Quality Improvement subcommittee, representing patients and offering input on process improvement. She also attended the SMMC Breast Cancer Support Group, which inspired to her to start her own support group at her church.

“Talking to someone who has been through this before makes it easier to relate,” said Best of her support group. “We’re seeing more and more people find the strength to reach out and be proactive in getting the help they need.”

In the future, Best says she plans to continue speaking to those who are undergoing cancer treatment and share her experience, faith and experience of survivorship.

To see more photos from Best’s visit to SMMC, visit To learn more about The Cancer Center at SMMC or The Connie Dwyer Breast Center, visit or call 973-877-5000.

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